NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Women from around the country are being humiliated, as their most personal pictures are finding their way onto pornographic Web sites.
As CBS 2's Kristine Johnson reported, the women say the photos are private, sent without their knowledge and consent - and put up by someone they once loved.
"I think I stopped breathing for a while," said Holli Toups, a victim of the revenge porn trend.
Toups found her most intimate photographs posted on a pornographic Web site - put there by a former boyfriend, she said, as an act of revenge.
"It was humiliating, to say the least," Toups said. "I didn't want to go anywhere."
Toups, of Texas, told reporter J.D. Miles of KTVT-TV, Dallas-Fort Worth that she walked into a store one day and was told, "Hey, you're the girl from that Web site."
She is among 26 women suing the Texas-based Web site and its owner.
In Colorado, another young woman - Sarah - also saw her personal pictures, originally taken for her boyfriend, on a revenge porn site.
"I wanted to throw up," Sarah told KCNC-TV, Denver. "I couldn't even understand how something like that could become public."
Another woman, Caitlin, told KCNC she found her private photos on the same site. Caitlin had taken nude photos to share with her girlfriend but did not intend them for public consumption.
"This has nothing to do with free will. Those were my personal photos reserved for me privately and somehow they were taken and now they are all over the Internet for anyone to see. It's an invasion of privacy and it's disgusting," Caitlin told the CBS-owned station.
Hundreds of women from around the country have found their pictures posted to revenge porn sites - many sent in by ex-boyfriends bent on revenge.
Sarah thinks someone intercepted her pictures when they were transferred from her cell phone to a photo account.
"I don't know how anyone thinks that's all right at all to do that to people," she said. "It's embarrassing and humiliating. What do my friends and family think?"
Some of the Web sites that posted the women's photos even solicit people to send explicit photos.
The Colorado-based Web site is run by Craig Brittain, a 28-year-old resident of Colorado Springs, Colo. Brittain insisted that his purposes are only entertainment.
"I think that again we're not doing anything; not trying to hurt them. We're not out for revenge or being malicious," Brittain told KCNC investigator Brian Maass. "We just want entertainment. We want the money. We're after making the buck."
Brittain told KCNC he makes about $3,000 a month from advertising on his Web site, for which he solicits people to send in the explicit photos anonymously along with the victims' Facebook profiles.
He then reposts that information on the site, often including the women's telephone numbers, KCNC reported. While critics believe Brittain is striving for maximum humiliation of the women, Brittain told KCNC's Maass he pairs the photos with the women's Facebook profiles so viewers can get a better picture of who the women are and what they are about.
Brittain told KCNC the women's photos can be taken down, for a price. A link on his site referencing a "takedown lawyer" offers to have the photos removed for $250.
Attorney Douglas Burns said that method of having photos removed presents major legal issues.
"You're putting up really compromising visual material, and then you're turning around and saying for a fee, we'll take it down," Burns said. "So it is sort of an extortion."
Burns said women who find their pictures on these sites without their knowledge or consent may also have claims of emotional distress or damage to their character.
"It's one of those things, you think it's never going to happen to me, but it does," he said, "and its happened to a lot of people out there."
Experts said the revenge porn trend is creating a lot of new legal issues, and the law will eventually catch up to it. It just might take some time.
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